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Dictatorship in a single export crop economy

Author

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  • Bart Capéau
  • Philip Verwimp

Abstract

We provide an analysis of a power-maximising model for dictatorial behaviour. In the model, the dictator’s revenues depend on the exports of a single crop. Using export earnings the dictator buys loyalty from the producers of the export crop by setting the domestic producer price. Revenues resulting from the difference between the international and the domestic price of the crop are used to finance a repressive apparatus. We present a complete comparative statics analysis of the choice between repression and loyalty to obtain power, in response to changes in the international price of the single crop in the economy. The results allow for a novel classification of power-maximising behaviour into benevolent, tyrannical and totalitarian dictatorships. We argue that the model and the associated dictatorship typology can be embedded into Wintrobe’s more general specification of a dictator’s objective function, which combines aspirations for power with rent-seeking motives. We compare our analysis with empirical observations of the Habyarimana regime in Rwanda (1973–1994).JEL Classification Numbers: D72, H30, H56.

Suggested Citation

  • Bart Capéau & Philip Verwimp, 2012. "Dictatorship in a single export crop economy," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 24(2), pages 210-234, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:24:y:2012:i:2:p:210-234
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2001. "A Theory of Political Transitions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 938-963, September.
    3. Hardle, Wolfgang & Linton, Oliver, 1986. "Applied nonparametric methods," Handbook of Econometrics,in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 38, pages 2295-2339 Elsevier.
    4. Verwimp, Philip, 2003. "The political economy of coffee, dictatorship, and genocide," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 161-181, June.
    5. Lam, R., 1999. "Dictatorship as a Political Dutch Disease," Papers 795, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    6. Ricky Lam & Leonard Wantchekon, 1999. "Dictatorships as a Political Dutch Disease," Working Papers 795, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:84:y:1990:i:03:p:849-872_19 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hardle, Wolfgang & Linton, Oliver, 1986. "Applied nonparametric methods," Handbook of Econometrics,in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 38, pages 2295-2339 Elsevier.
    9. Wintrobe,Ronald, 1998. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521583299, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kolleen J. Rask & Norman Rask, 2017. "The Impact of Regime Type on Food Consumption in Low Income Countries," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 59(1), pages 107-125, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    coffee; dictatorship; political economy; Rwanda;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War

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